by Rich Moreland, November 2015
Here is the second installment on my visit to a Girlfriends Films shoot. It’s about the box cover, the image that captures the consumer’s eye.
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I’ve been on shoots before, but I’ve never seen a box cover being photographed. Because stills in adult film are routinely shot with few, if any retakes, I am surprised at the time invested in the cover. On the other hand, a well thought out shot sells the movie, so repeated takes make sense.
Dan O’Connell pairs the girls on the cover according to their scenes. What astonishes me is the discussion among Dan and girls that surfaces as Mike Towers clicks away.
This part of movie-making is not solely director dictated, at least for Girlfriends Films‘ founder.
In an atmosphere akin to an open forum, Dan asks the performers for input to make this vital shot unique. Among the ideas bandied about is Vanessa’s suggestion that she kneel at Dani’s feet in an act of submission. It takes hold for the moment but we won’t know until the final product comes out if the cover designers liked it.
After Dan endorses Vanessa’s suggestion, the other two girls, Jorden Kennedy and Aidra Fox, experiment with different poses. They are sensuous with each other which makes for a terrific erotic exchange. Actually, they were getting along very well on the porch (warming up to get the juices flowing, if you know what I mean) while waiting for their scene to be shot, so anything here is simply an extension of that.
Jorden later tells me that Dan encourages input from the girls and she is more than willing to contribute.
“What if you did this or tried this. Like with the praying or the kneeling or flipping your hair back or with Dani pulling my hair,” Jorden says as she describes how the cover exchange involved everyone. “That’s very normal of him. He’s very open to suggestions.”
Then she adds for emphasis, “He’s outside the norm as for as taking suggestions.”
What this tells me is that Dan O’Connell invests his performers with a stake in the movie they are creating.
Reinforcing my thought, Jorden summarizes the Girlfriends Films attitude.
“Dan actually cares about the scene looking beautiful and passionate because he cares about the viewers as well as us to make sure that we’re having a good time as well. He wants us to enjoy ourselves as much as the viewers.”
Incidentally, she hits the word “us” with emphasis, the mark of ownership Girlfriends’ performers take in their work.
Though the cover is actually two pairs of girls that offset or counterbalance each other, blending them together into a cogent artistic expression becomes the dynamic that sells the film. Everything relies on Mike’s talent in catching the right expression at the right moment.
Dan’s chief concern reflects Mike’s: what to do with hands. They have to be placed appropriately to convey sensuality. Of course, no arm behind the back can be completely hidden, it suggests an amputee. So hands cover breasts, then don’t, then go to tummies and arms, then search elsewhere . . . all for just the right pose.
Many clicks later, Mike has what he needs and I am eager to find out which shot will be the cover winner. It goes without saying the girls are panties only because full frontal nudity carries possible obscenity implications that differ from state to state.
However, there is more to this moment than just a photograph. It brings back memories for me and relates to a conversation Dan and I had a few years ago.
We shared stories of our conservative upbringing, his in Montana, mine in small town Southern Maryland. For both of us in that long ago pre-computer time, lingerie ads were about as erotic as our teen-aged eyes ever got to see, especially if you were trying to survive a religious household.
Unless, of course, the lazy days of summer meant the carnival midway and hanging around the hoochie koochie tent with only your imagination as your friend.
For a moment I am a kid again among the sideshows, listening to barkers lure passersby inside to see real flesh and hoping for a furtive peek at what I wasn’t supposed to see.
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The third installment in this series looks at the scene between Jorden and Aidra who change the tone of Women Seeking Women from romantic to aggressive.